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Canon IXUS 110 IS - Canon IXUS 110 IS

By Cliff Smith



  • Recommended by TR
Canon IXUS 110 IS


Our Score:


I was expecting the 110 IS's overall performance to be pretty much identical to the 990 IS, but in fact it's quite different. It actually starts up very slightly faster, but it is very slightly slower in operation, with a single shot cycle time of 2.2 seconds and a continuous shooting mode shooting at a little less than one frame a second.

Autofocus performance is also very different. In good light the 110 IS matches the 990's speed and reliability, but in low light it is streets ahead. The IXUS 110 IS has an apparently identical AF assist lamp as its more expensive sibling, but in this case it works properly, and the camera focuses in complete darkness quickly and effectively at a range of several meters.

Thankfully one thing that remains unchanged is the outstanding performance of the optical image stabilisation system. As with the 990 IS, I was able to take shake-free hand-held shots at full telephoto zoom at shutter speeds as low as 1/10th of a second.

The performance of the built-in flash is exceptionally good, even disregarding its surprisingly small size. It is easily bright enough to fill a large living room, and the exposure system adjusts flash output, ISO and shutter speed to balance with ambient light in larger areas. The 110 IS is an excellent camera for social occasions; its wide angle lens is great for fitting in everyone sitting round a table, while the low-light focusing, excellent face detection and flash metering make sure everyone looks good.

In terms of image quality, you have to look very, very closely to spot any difference at all between the £210 camera and the £300 camera. There are differences; the 110's lens isn't quite as sharp in the centre of the frame, but it's much sharper in the corners and produces significantly less barrel distortion. It has roughly the same level of chromatic aberration, i.e. slight but noticeable. Colour reproduction, exposure and dynamic range are as good as ever.

Image noise handling is another talent the two brothers share. Shots at up to 200 ISO are pretty much noise-free, and while there are increasing signs of noise reduction at 400 and 800 ISO the image quality remains as high as possible. 1600 ISO is pixel-binned and a bit crap, but even there the colours remain accurate.


The Canon IXUS 110 IS is probably destined to be an extremely popular camera. It offers fantastic build quality, an up-to-the-minute range of features, great handling and performance, and image quality matching a camera that costs nearly half again as much. There are a few cheaper alternatives, but none that are better.

Wyrd Sister

August 13, 2009, 6:54 pm

Great timing for the review - I'm just buying a new camera and this is one of the candidates on my shortlist. I'm still undecided between the IXUS 110 IS, 100 IS and 990 IS. Which of these three would you recommend? (I was even considering one from the Lumix compact range, but I’ve got the IXUS 950 and love it. I guess I’ve got a penchant for Canon.) Is the grip on the 110 good? (It may sound silly, but I was kinda worried because of its curvy side: it looks like I might accidentally drop it, or that it could be hard to hold it and shoot with one hand).

Cliff Smith

August 13, 2009, 10:37 pm

I've not tried the IXUS 100 IS yet, but it does look nice. If had to choose between the 110 and the 990, I think I'd take the 110. I prefer the zoom range, and the ultra-compact size gives it the edge in portability. As for handling, as I mentioned in the review it's very easy to grip securely, even one-handed.

Wyrd Sister

August 14, 2009, 3:56 pm

Thank you a lot.


August 14, 2009, 8:29 pm

I bought one a couple of weeks ago for £189.00 from Amazon in their sale. It has replaced my old Canon 850 is. It is a great little camera & is much easier to use than my old one. The on screen hints are very useful while you are getting used to the camera. The quality of the photos & movies are really excellent. I wasn't sure about not having an optical view finder but the screen is bright & sharp it isn't a problem. A great buy, highly recommended.


August 14, 2009, 8:57 pm

@NICHOLAS JONES: I'm intrigued. I own an 850 IS and have been very happy with it - stil am. Nothing about the 110 IS (reading Cliff's review of it, that is) made me think I'd want to upgrade anytime soon. Is it really that much better?

Wyrd Sister

August 15, 2009, 12:19 am

@NICHOLAS JONES: Cheers! I don't know why I find its elongated body a bit... odd. I tried it and it actually sits in my hand quite comfortably, and I also like the zoom range on this puppy, but for this shape. I suppose I have to get used to it. Thanks for your input.

Cliff Smith

August 17, 2009, 5:49 pm

Ed - The 110 IS is a very nice camera, but then so is the 850 IS and personally I wouldn't bother upgrading just yet. The 110 IS is technically the better of the two, but not by enough to spend £200 on it.

George M

November 8, 2009, 2:36 am

Hi Cliff and the team, I'm just buying a new camera and in the past I was always very satisfied with your reviews and recommendations. I'm looking for the ultra compact with very good (the best) image quality, performance and all other features in reasonable level. My candidate is Canon Ixus 120 - do you have any experience with it? Is it better than Ixus 110?

I was also thinking about Nikon Coolpix S640. Does anyone have any experience?

Is there any new better model of ultracompact from Canon or Nikon?

Thank you for any feedback.

james 22

March 23, 2010, 10:13 pm

Hello Cliff,

although I'm a die hard fun on canon ixus series & i'm about one step before buy the canon ixus 110, I've checked your review on Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 and i found the picture quality is better.

Looking at the West Window of Exeter Cathedral, I think Sony's W209 is more detailed and the colors are more vivid. Canon's 110 same picture is not so detailed and black and green color seem week!

Does this has to do with the day of light or I whats I see is what I'll get? Whats your opinion between the two of them?

I really hope you can help with this decision!

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